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What is your favorite recipe for cornbread dressing? Share your hints below

A staple of most any Southern Thanksgiving dinner, cornbread dressing or stuffing, appears to have had its beginnings as a Native American tradition when a ceremony took place at the end of the growing season. At this time corn was ready to store away and thanks was given for food. The ceremony was called gathering corn bread and nearly every family prepared for the event by baking a batch of corn bread. The bread was brought to the longhouse and a speaker was appointed to address the people. He congratulated them on the success of their crop or harvest and thanks given to the Great Spirit that the people had been well supplied. (Iroquois Foods and Food Preparation, F. W. Waugh, facsimile 1916 edition [University Press of the Pacific:Honolulu HI] 2003 (p. 38)

Thanksgiving cornbread dressing (the

Cornbread stuffing (the

While Northerners call the dish “stuffing” Southerners usually refer to the dish as “dressing”. Of all food served on Thanksgiving, the ingredients in what constitutes a great “stuffing” or “dressing” has to do with personal origins and family traditions. While there are many variations, Southerners are probably most familiar with old-fashioned corn bread dressing. Many recipes have been handed down in the family for years. The basic recipe below is a traditional one that I am familiar with from the  Some people like to include meats and additional spices.

This is definitely not a recipe for dieters. A pre-seasoned cast-iron skillet is essential for making good cornbread dressing.


Southern-style Cornbread Dressing

Serves 10-12

For the buttermilk cornbread:
1 cup plain yellow cornmeal
1 cup all-purpose flour
3 tablespoons sugar 
1 tablespoon baking powder
1 1/2 teaspoons kosher salt
2 eggs, lightly beaten
1 stick (1/2 cup) unsalted butter, melted
1 cup whole buttermilk

For the cornbread dressing:
1 (14 ounce) bag herb-seasoned stuffing, preferably Pepperidge Farm*
2 sticks (1 cup) unsalted butter, divided
2 cups finely chopped sweet onion
1 1/2 cups finely chopped celery
5 cups chicken or turkey stock
5 large eggs, lightly beaten
2 teaspoons dried sage
Salt and pepper

For the buttermilk cornbread, grease a 10″ cast iron skillet and place on center rack in the oven. Preheat oven to 425°F.

In a large mixing bowl, combine the cornmeal, flour, sugar, baking powder, and salt. In a separate bowl, whisk the eggs, melted butter, and buttermilk. Add the wet ingredients to the dry ingredients and stir until just incorporated.

Pour the batter into the preheated skillet and smooth the top. Bake until cornbread is golden yellow, about 16 to 19 minutes. doesn’t overcook or dry out. Immediately remove the cornbread from the skillet and allow to cool.

The cornbread can be made up to 2 days in advance when using for the dressing. Store until needed, then crumble and follow instructions for the dressing.

For the cornbread dressing, preheat oven to 350°F.

Crumble the cornbread into small pieces (makes about 5 cups). Combine the crumbled cornbread and stuffing mix in an extra large mixing bowl (or stock pot) and toss to combine.

Melt 1 stick butter in a large skillet over medium heat. Add the onion and celery and sauté, stirring frequently, until soft and translucent, about 10 to12 minutes. Add the onion and celery to the cornbread mixture.

Melt the remaining stick of butter. In a large mixing bowl, combine the butter, chicken stock, eggs, and sage, and whisk to combine. Add to the cornbread mixture and mix until thoroughly incorporated. Season generously with kosher salt and pepper. Pour into a greased 9 x 13 inch casserole dish. Bake, uncovered, until the dressing is set and golden brown, about 45 minutes to 50 minutes.

*Pepperidge Farm stuffing may not be available to everyone or you may prefer not to use it; biscuits (homemade or store bought) make a good substitute.


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About Donna R Causey

Donna R. Causey, resident of Alabama, was a teacher in the public school system for twenty years. When she retired, Donna found time to focus on her lifetime passion for historical writing. She developed the websites www.alabamapioneers and All her books can be purchased at and Barnes & Noble. She has authored numerous genealogy books. RIBBON OF LOVE: A Novel Of Colonial America (TAPESTRY OF LOVE) is her first novel in the Tapestry of Love about her family where she uses actual characters, facts, dates and places to create a story about life as it might have happened in colonial Virginia. Faith and Courage: Tapestry of Love (Volume 2) is the second book and the third FreeHearts: A Novel of Colonial America (Book 3 in the Tapestry of Love Series) Discordance: The Cottinghams (Volume 1) is the continuation of the story. . For a complete list of books, visit Donna R Causey

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  1. You can also pull pieces of a hickory smoked turkey and add in the Dressing and add a can of cream of mushroom or cream of chicken to mixture. I personally leave the sage out. And a hard boil egg cut up is also optional to add… (:

  2. Poultry seasoning can be used in the place of sage and you don’t get that strong flavor.

  3. Respectfully, no “traditional” recipe for Southern cornbread dressing includes a ” bag of herb-seasoned stuffing”.

    1. Agree with Denise about the bag of herb seasoned stuffing. Also no sugar in the cornbread.

  4. Mother’s late-life Thanksgiving was to stuff a turkey, using cornbread stuffing. She added chopped boiled eggs to her stuffing also. Her plan was to serve Thanksgiving dinner at noon, so she would turn her oven up to its highest temperature at midnight, put the turkey in her large “turkey pan” in the oven and cook for one hour, Then she’d turn the heat off. The smell was so enticing that guests would come earlier, bringing whatever frehreshments they wanted. She made giblet dressing, homemade cranberry sauce with orange zest, the obligatory mashed potatoes and green beans cooked with salt pork, and whipped sweet potatoes.

    She invited family and “orphans and waifs” she thought would not have a traditional Thanksgiving meal, including the poor and the occasional homeless. Her dining room table would seat 16 and we would have a “children’s table” presided over by our ever faithful Charlotte, my nanny. Desserts were pecan and pumpkin pies, plus whatever desserts the guests brought. Giving of thanks before dinner, followed by a short walk afterwards.Card games after meal clean-up. All guests had to leave by sun-down. Mother always figred out which family was in need and held a Thanksgiving raffle that allowed a guest’s name to be drawn from slips with the names of all (non-family) guests. She rigged the drawing so the most needy were certain to win the prize (taking home the rest of the Thanksgiving meal).

    One Thanksgiving she cooked rock cornish game hens instead of turkey, a nice change of pace but the game hens spoiled the routine. Never again! Happy Thanksgiving!

  5. Being a true southerner, I am disappointed that your Cornbread includes fflour and sugar, and the dressing includes herb stuffing mix

  6. I use Hall’s Milling company cornmeal in my dressing

  7. Nope. No sage in our cornbread dressing. Nor stuffing mix.

  8. I gotta have my sage.

  9. I’d share my moms but you don’t allow pictures in your comments. She wrote it out on a sheet of paper for us after she found out she had cancer because the whole family always loved it. She rarely cooked but when she did it was always great and she never used a book. Now that she’s gone I make it every year for Thanksgiving and Christmas. It’s like having her with us on the holidays.

  10. Kaysha Williams Kaye Tee Keisha Higgs Julia Griffin Bushon Bethena Collins DeRamus

  11. When I first got married I used a cookbook recipe for cornbread, and learned it was not what I liked. I do not like sugar in my cornbread.

  12. Some things just better…..not reveiled.

  13. Cream of celery soup.

  14. White corn meal, celery, onions, touch of sage, lot of broth, butter, boiled eggs chipped, salt ‘n pepper, and a couple of raw eggs to bind it all together… should be a little “soupy” when you put it in a casserole so it won’t be dry.

  15. A few bell peppers, really gives it a kick!

  16. Add Thyme to the basic cornbread/ starter recipe.

  17. I think the recipe is good upper New England. They was berries. grapes. celery. and nuts will brown dry breads..

  18. Only baked cornbread, plain white bread crumbled together; salt and plenty of pepper, chopped celery and onion, eggs. hot chicken broth to make a very soft mixture. Bake in 9×13 pan till bubbly and top is brown. The best ever!

  19. My Mom made her cornbread and wrapped it and put in the freezer. The day before she got it out to thaw, chopped onions, celery and her secret ingredient was shredded cheese. Boiled eggs, shredded chicken breasts sage, poultry seasoning, chicken broth, pepper. Everyone who tasted my Mom’s dressing said it was the best they had ever eaten. Only the family members knew a cup of shredded cheese was added to her dressing; so I guess now a lot of folks know that. LOL Try it and you will be pleasantly surprised.

  20. Old southern style. Cornbread, biscuits, eggs, sage, onions, salt, pepper and broth, butter.

  21. Crumbled cornbread and biscuits, pureed onions and celery, sage, pepper, salt, butter, cream of chicken soup, turkey broth.

  22. Bunch of rubbed sage, white pepper is crucial, celery, onions, bacon crusted white cornbread, homemade chicken broth, eggs.

  23. Mrs. Wilke’s Boarding House recipe.

  24. Pan of fresh corn bread, some white bread cubed, chopped celery and onions sauteed in butter, sage (or poultry seasoning) salt, pepper, drippings from the roasted turkey and/or broth from the boiled turkey neck, etc. Mix. Bake until brown @ 350-400 degrees. (Mom’s recipe-none better).

  25. I think momma’s is the best

    1. I remember decades ago, my niece said upon tasting my dressing “This tastes just like Grannie’s.” I knew I had succeeded at the highest level.

  26. Cornbread in iron skillet, toasted white bread, crumbled together. Celery, onion, sage
    Lots of broth cooked till brown on top.

  27. My mother makes the best dressing ever! She makes cornbread and let’s it an bread or biscuits sit out overnight to dry out.then sautes onion and celery mixes with the bread mixture adds pecans and browned sausage.pour chicken stock and butter over and bakes.sooo good!

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